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04/15/2019, 23:36:33

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Mark Meadows: 'Highly likely' FISA abuse investigation spawns more criminal referrals

by Daniel Chaitin  | April 14, 2019 06:30 PM
7-8 minutes

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., says he expects more criminal referrals will be sent to the Justice Department based on an inspector general's Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse investigation.

Last week, House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., sent a notification letter to Attorney General William Barr saying his team "identified several potential violations of the law" as part of an investigation into origins of the Trump-Russia investigation and hopes to set up a meeting to discuss.

During an interview on Fox News, Meadows said it is "highly likely" more criminal referrals will follow that "correspond with what [Congressman] Nunes has already put forth."

"The big story that has not been told ... [are] leaks to the Washington post and the New York Times that would indicate well beyond what the FBI should have been doing in terms of classified information and I'm sure that the IG will look at that, but more importantly go even beyond that when attorney general Barr looks at the broader accept of this investigation," the GOP investigator said on "Sunday Morning Futures."

Meadows, a member of the House Oversight Committee, met with Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz last week along with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. In a Fox News interview on Tuesday, Jordan said Horowitz told them he "expects" a report on his investigation into possible FISA abuse by the DOJ and FBI "in May or June," confirming what Barr testified earlier in the day to a congressional panel.

Horowitz announced the initiation of the FISA abuse investigation in March 2018 after requests from both then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Republican members in Congress. The lawmakers claimed the Justice Department and FBI had abused the FISA process and misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in their investigation and surveillance of President Trump and his associates during the campaign, as well as during the Trump administration.

Onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page was the subject of a FISA warrant and three renewals.

During his interview Sunday, host Maria Bartiromo asked Meadows to explain how the FBI "used" the media by leaking "fake news" to use as evidence for the FISA application process.

"What we would find is people within the department of justice primarily the FBI would actually give information to the media, then those reports would actually come out and they would say 'Wow, we have these reports now,' and then they would take the actual reports and use those as the probable cause to do a further investigation," Meadows said. "It was a big circular reasoning. You'll see all of that come out, I believe, when inspector general's report comes out."

Meadows stressed that he has not yet seen Horowitz's findings, but claimed the evidence is plain for everyone to see.

"Well I'd say the lions share of all of this after August of 2016 leading up to the election, the lions share of this, over 90-95% of this, was either the dossier or open source Intel which came from media reports, so there's not any there there there, and that's what even [former FBI agent] Peter Strzok said early on," Meadows said. "And so when we look at this, this is a large fabrication which predicated much of the investigation that we've been reporting on for two years."

Barr is putting together a team to examine the FBI's initial investigation into President Trump's campaign in the summer of 2016. He testified last week it will be substantiated by Horowitz's findings.

Bartiromo said there was a "strong suggestion" by Barr that alleged misconduct may have taken place beyond the FBI, at the CIA, State Department, and elsewhere. Meadows said Barr is "spot on" to expand his investigation beyond Horowitz's probe, and specifically cited former CIA Director John Brennan, an outspoken Trump critic.

"I can tell you based on unclassified documents we've reviewed, we saw that [John] Brennan's name with the CIA, we've seen others within the State Department mention very early on and they were actually coordinating back and forth with the FBI in the early stages the investigation," Meadows said. "So I think part of the problem we have here is is that it was not just a few people within the FBI. It was a coordinated effort with the intelligence communities outside of the FBI and to the extent of that I think AG Barr is going to look at that."

In addition to the DOJ inspector general’s probe, U.S. Attorney John Huber is also conducting an investigation. A March 2018 letter from Republicans in Congress asked then-Attorney General Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to look into “certain decisions made and not made by the Department of Justice and FBI in 2016 and 2017” which they believed showed “evidence of bias, trending toward animus, among those charged with investigating serious cases.” Instead of a special counsel, Sessions tasked Huber with this mission later in March 2018. The status of his parallel probe is not known.

Senate side, Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., says there will be investigations into the origins of Mueller’s investigation and potential bias in the Justice Department and FBI, including a look at FISA warrants.

Democrats have long argued that the FBI acted appropriately in obtaining the authority to spy on the Trump campaign due to concerns about Russian influence. In a rebuttal to the House Intelligence GOP memo which alleged the FBI did not reveal the dossier's Democratic benefactors or Steele's anti-Trump bias in obtaining FISA warrants to spy on Page, Democrats argued the DOJ and FBI "met the rigor, transparency, and evidentiary basis needed to meet FISA's probable cause requirement."

Nunes's criminal referrals, which include two related to charges of conspiracy to lie to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, came together as special counsel Robert Mueller concluded his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Although Barr said in a summary of Mueller's team could not establish criminal conspiracy between the Trump team and Russia, some Democrats, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., insist there is clear evidence of collusion.

Meanwhile, House Democrats are sounding the alarm over plans by Nunes to meet privately with Barr to discuss the criminal referrals.





LIBERTY HAS NO EXPIRATION DATE

Democrats wouldn't buy a clue if it was government subsidized.





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